I had the unexpected privilege of seeing post-hardcore/industrial rock band Silver Snakes when attending my tenth Coheed and Cambria concert a few months ago. For those who can’t recall, after taking some time to listen to some singles before the show, I simply couldn’t get into them. But after seeing their auspicious performance, I had a rejuvenated drive to check them out again. With only a few days away from the release of their upcoming album “Saboteur,” my ears have enjoyed a promotional copy of this promising, young band. These guys are going places, especially with the help of Coheed frontman Claudio Sanchez and his newly formed label Evil Ink Records.
Residing in Los Angeles, Silver Snakes consists of Alex Estrada on vocals/guitar, Mike Trujillo on bass guitar, Jeremiah Bignell on guitar, and Garrett Harney on drums. With a sound comparable to early Tool, Deftones, and Nine Inch Nails, Silver Snakes incorporates darker elements into their newest album “Saboteur” compared to their previous releases. There is something completely different and special about this album compared to what has been released so far this year. Heavy riffage meet spacey bridge sections throughout the album, all while driven by industrial sounding drum machines. Citing influences from popular Nine Inch Nails album “The Downward Spiral,” one can only nod in agreement while listening to the track “Glass,” with its wave after wave of droning sound effects. Both guitarists are highlighted continuously throughout, displaying massive bombardments of overdriven aura and dreamy atmospheres of reverb. I particularly love the juxtaposition of light and dark in my personal favorite track “Devotion,” with drums carrying the back half like a Chelsea Wolfe song.
At times, “Saboteur” appears progressive in nature, utilizing extended rhythm sections and experimental song structures. As “Fire Cloud” fades into the album’s single “Red Wolf,” I particularly enjoyed the rises and falls from chorus to verse. Silver Snakes has mastered this technique in their short career, bringing the mood down for a necessary amount of time, only to set off like a firework in the song’s chorus. The final two tracks “Dresden” and “The Loss” are the album’s longest, resulting in a surprising amount of experimentation for such a heavy album. The deep bass guitar presence in “The Loss” helps to drive the album to a close, but not before a brilliant drum performance starting halfway through the song, and a handclapping outro to shake things up. The double bass pedal beats adds a whole other layer of darkness to an already ominous album.
The rotating vocal deliveries from cold and harsh to soft and melodic land vocalist Estrada as the album’s top performer. Having seen him live, I can attest to the passion and emotion behind his performance. All it took was the opening track “Electricity” to show off his vocal ability, driving the listener into an unrelenting fury. Supported by lead guitarist Bignell, the duo adequately play off each other’s riffs, providing a memorable, guitar-driven performance. Although not a concept album, Estrada’s lyrics provide a mirror for self-reflection and discovery, allowing the listener a glimpse into one’s own mistakes or the enjoyment in the mistakes of others. It’s truly a haunting, yet accurate portrayal of one’s own selfish desires and its consequences, which is more symbolically represented with Estrada’s meandering voice. Kudos for the emotionally manipulative vocals.
Silver Snakes’ first album through Evil Ink Records is an absolute hit. Containing all the heavy guitar, bass, and drums one would expect from such a hard album, “Saboteur” will serve as the band’s masterpiece, that is until they release another album of this caliber. For fans of bands like As Cities Burn, Pianos Become The Teeth, and Vessel Born, I’d give this album a spin. Please support Silver Snakes by pre-ordering and purchasing their upcoming album on their website, and by following them on Facebook for band updates. They are preparing a North American tour supporting Coheed and Cambria, so I would highly recommend stopping by if they hit a city near you.
And to Silver Snakes: I’ll see you guys again in San Diego!